The discontinuity of digital technologies


Last week I published as an article of this blog the Executive summary of my book A vision made real – Past, present and future of MPEG. This time I publish as an article the first chapter of the book about the four aspects of the media distribution business and their enabling tech­nologies:

  1. Analogue media distribution describes the vertical businesses of analogue media distribution;
  2. Digitised media describes media digitisation and why it was largely irrelevant to distribution;
  3. Compressed digital media describes how industry tried to use compression for distribution;
  4. Digital technologies for media distribution describes the potential structural impact of compressed digital media for distribution.

Analogue media distribution

In the 1980’s media were analogue, the sole exception being music on compact disc (CD). Different industries were engaged in the business of distributing media: telecom­mun­ication companies distributed music, cable operators distributed television via cable, terrestrial and sat­ellite broadcasters did the same via terrestrial and satellite networks and different types of busin­esses distributed all sort of recorded media on physical support (film, laser discs, compact cas­set­te, VHS/Betamax cassette, etc.).

Even if the media content was exactly the same, say a movie, the baseband signals that represented the media content were all different and specific of the delivery media: film for the theatrical vision, television for the terre­strial or satellite network or for the cable, a different format for video cassette. Added to these technological differences caused by the physical nature of the delivery media, there were often substantial differences that depended on countries or manufacturers.

Figure 1 depicts the vertical businesses of the analogue world when media distribution was a collection of industry-dependent distribution systems each using their own technologies for the baseband signal. The figure is simplified because it does not take into ac­count the country- or region-based differences within each industry.

Figure  1 – Analogue media distribution

Digitised media

Since the 1930’s the telecom industry had investigated digitisation of signals (speech at that time). In the 1960’s technology could support digitisation and ITU created G.711, the standard for digital speech, i.e. analogue speech sampled at 8 kHz with a nonlinear 8 bits quantisation. For several decades digital speech only existed in the (fixed) network, but few were aware of it because the speech did not leave the network as bits.

It was necessary to wait until 1982 for Philips and Sony to develop the Compact Disc (CD) which carried digital stereo audio, specified in the “Red Book”: analogue stereo audio sampled at 44.1 kHz with 16 bits linear. It was a revolution because consumers could have an audio quality that did nor deteriorate with time.

In 1980 a digital video standard was issued by ITU-R.  The luminance and the two colour-differ­ence signals were sampled at 13.5 and 6.75 MHz, respectively, at 8 bits per sample yielding an exceedingly high bitrate of 216 Mbit/s. It was a major achievement, but digital television never left the studio if not as bulky magnetic tapes.

The network could carry 64 kbit/s of digital speech, but no consumer-level delivery media of that time could carry the 1.41 Mbit/s of digital audio and much less the 216 Mbit/s of digital video. Therefore, in the 1960s studies on compression of digitised media begun in earnest.

Compressed digital media

In the 1980’s compression research yielded its first fruits:

  1. In 1980 ITU approved Recommendation T.4: Standardization of Group 3 facsimile terminals for document transmission. In the following decades hundreds of million Group 3 facsimile devices were installed worldwide because, thanks to compression, transmission time of an A4 sheet was cut from 6 min (Group 1 facsim­ile), or 3 min (Group 2 facsimile) to about 1 min.
  2. In 1982 ITU approved H.100 (11/88) Visual telephone systems for transmission of videocon­ference at 1.5/2 Mbit/s. Analogue videoconferencing was not unknown at that time because several com­panies had trials, but many hoped that H.100 would enable diffused business communication.
  3. In 1984 ITU started the standardisation activity that would give rise to Recommendations H.261: Video codec for audio-visual services at p x 64 kbit/s approved in 1988.
  4. In the mid-1980s several CE laboratories were studying digital video recording for magnetic tapes. One example was the European Digital Video Recorder (DVS) project that people ex­pected would provide a higher-quality alternative to the analogue VHS or Betamax video­cassette recorder, as much as CDs were supposed to be a higher-quality alternative to LP records.
  5. Still in the area of recording, but for a radically new type of application – interactive video on compact disc – Philips and RCA were independently studying methods to encode video signals at bitrates of 1.41 Mbit/s (the output bitrate of CD).
  6. In the same years CMTT, a special Group of the ITU dealing with transmission of radio and television programs on telecommunication networks, had started working on a standard for transmission of digital television for “primary contribution” (i.e. transmission between stu­dios).
  7. In 1987 the Advisory Committee on Advanced Television Service was formed to devise a plan to introduce HDTV in the USA and Europe was doing the same with their HD-MAC project.
  8. At the end of the 1980’s RAI and Telettra had developed an HDTV codec for satellite broad­casting that was used for demonstrations during the Soccer World cup in 1990 and General Instrument had showed its Digicipher II system for terrestrial HDTV broadcasting in the band­width of 6 MHz used by American terrestrial television.

 Digital technologies for media distribution

The above shows how companies, industries and standards committees were jockeying for a pos­ition in the upcoming digital world. These disparate and often uncorrelated initiatives betrayed the mindset that guided them: future distribution of digital media would have an arrangement similar to the one sketched in Figure 1 for analogue media: the “baseband signal” of each delivery medium would be digital, thus using new technology, but different for each industry and possibly for each country/region.

In the analogue world these scattered roles and responsibilities were not particularly harmful be­cause the delivery media and the baseband signals were so different that unification had never been attempted. But in the digital world unification made a lot of sense.

MPEG was conceived as the organisation that would achieve unification and provide generic, i.e. domain-independent digital media compression. In other words, MPEG envisaged the completely different set up depicted in Figure 2.

Figure  2 – Digital media distribution (à la MPEG)

 In retrospect that was a daunting task. If its magnitude had been realised, it would probably never have started.

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A vision made real – Past, present and future of MPEG

Why this book?

In a generation, life of the large majority of human beings is incredibly different than the life of the generation before. The ability to  communicate made possible by ubiquitous internet and to convey media content to others made possible by MPEG standards can probably be mentioned among the most important factors of change. However, unlike internet about which a lot has been written, little is known about the MPEG group besides its name.

This book wants to make up for this lack of information.

It will talk about the radical transformation that MPEG standards wrought to the media distribution business by replacing a multitude of technologies owned by different businesses with a single technology shared by all; the environment in which it operates; the radically new philosophy that underpins this transformation; the means devised to put the philosophy into practice; the industrial and economic impact of MPEG standards; what  new standards are being developed; and what is the future that the author conceives for MPEG as an organisation that plays such an important industrial and social role.

Bottom line, MPEG is about technology. Therefore, the book offers an overview of all MPEG standards and, in particular, videoaudiomedia qualitysystems and data. This is for those more (but not a lot more) technology-minded.

Important – there are short Conclusions worth reading.

Leonardo Chiariglione

Table of Contents of A vision made real – Past, present and future of MPEG

Introduction of A vision made real – Past, present and future of MPEG

The impact of MPEG standards

I suppose that few visitors of this blog need to be convinced that MPEG is important because they have some personal experience of the MPEG importance. Again, I suppose not all visitors have full visibility of all the application areas where MPEG is important.

This article describes different application domains showing how applications have benefited from MPEG standards. The list is not exhaustive and the order in which applications are presented follows approximately the time in which MPEG enabled the application.

Digital Television for distribution

MPEG-2 was the first integrated digital television standard first deployed in 1994, even before the MPEG-2 standard was approved. While most countries have adopted MPEG-2 Video for their terrestrial broadcasting services, with one notable major exception, countries have made different selections of for the audio component.

MPEG-2 Transport Stream is the Systems layer of Digital Television. The Systems layer can carry the “format identifier”. In case the media (audio or video) carried by the Systems layer are different from MPEG, the format identifier indicates which of the registered formats is being actually used.

Digital Television exploits Digital Storage Media Command and Control (DSM-CC) to set up a network connection (used by CATV services) and the carousel to send the content of a slowly changing information source that each receiver that happens to “tune-in” can acquire after some time.

MPEG-4 AVC has replaced MPEG-2 Video in many instances because of its superior compression performance. MPEG-H HEVC is also being used in different countries especially for Ultra High Definition (UHD) distribution. HEVC has the advantage of providing better compression that AVC. Additionally it supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Wider Colour Gamut (WCG).

MPEG-B Part 9 provides a specification for Common Encryption of MPEG-2 Transport Streams.

MPEG-H part 1 MPEG Media Transport (MMT), replaces the original MPEG-2 Transport Stream. MMT is part of the ATSC 3.0 specification.

Digital Audio Broadcasting

In the mid-1990’s different European countries began to launch Digital Audio Broadcasting services based on the specifications of the Eureka 147 (EU 147) research project. EU 147 used MPEG-1 Audio Layer II as compressed audio format, in addition to other EU 147-proper specifications. The specification were widely adopted in other countries outside of Europe promoted by the non-government organisation WorldDAB.

In 2006 the DAB+ specifications were released. DAB+ includes HE-AAC v2 and MPEG surround (MPEG-D Part 1).

Technologically connected to DAB for the transport layer, but addressing video (AVC), is the Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) system developed by Korea for video transmission on mobile handsets.

Other audio services, such as XM, use HE-AAC.

Digital Audio

MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer III) brought a revolution in the music world because it triggered new ways to distribute and enjoy music content. MP3 players continued the revolution brought about by the Walkman. Different versions of AAC continued that trend and triggered the birth of music distribution over the internet. Today most music is distributed via the internet using MPEG standards.

Digital Video for package media distribution

Video Compact Disc (VCD)

The original target of MPEG-1 – interactive video on compact disc – did not happen but, especially in Far East markets, VCD was a big success – probably 1 billion devices sold – anticipating the coming of the more performing but more complex MPEG-2 based DVD. VCD used MPEG-1 Systems, Video and Audio Layer II.

Digital Versatile Disc (DVD)

The widely successful DVD specification used MPEG-2 Video, MPEG-2 Program Stream and a selection of audio codecs for different world regions.

Blu-ray Disc (BD)

The BD specification makes reference to AVC and to Multiview Video Coding. MPEG-2 TS is used instead of MPEG-2 PS. Apparently, no MPEG audio codecs are supported.

Ultra HD Blu-ray

The specification supports 4K UHD video encoded in HEVC with 10-bit High Dynamic Range and Wider Colour Gamut.

Digital video for the studio

MPEG was born to serve the “last mile” of video distribution, but some companies requested to make a version of MPEG-2 targeting studio use. This is the origin of the MPEG-2 4:2:2 profile which only supports intraframe coding and a higher number of bits per pixels.

All standards following MPEG-2, starting from MPEG-4 Visual, have had a few profiles dedicates to use in the studio.

Not strictly in the video coding area is the Audio-Visual Description Profile (AVDP), defined in MPEG-7 Part 9. AVDP was developed to facilitate the introduction of automatic information extraction tools in media production, through the definition of a common format for the exchange of the metadata they generate, e.g. shot/scene detection, face recognition/tracking, speech recognition, copy detection and summarisation, etc.

Digital video

Repeating the “MP3 use case for video” was the ambition of many. MPEG-4 Visual provided the standard technology for doing it. DivX (a company) took over the spec and triggered the birth of “DVD-to-video file” industry that attracted significant attention for some time.

Video distribution over the internet

MPEG-4 Visual was the first video coding standard designed to be “IT-friendly”. Some companies started plans to deliver video over the then internet then growing (in bitrate). Those plans suffered a deadly blow with the publication of the MPEG-4 Visual licensing terms with the “content fee” clause.

The more relaxed AVC licensing terms favoured the development of MPEG-standard based internet-based video distribution. Unfortunately, the years lost with the MPEG-4 Visual licensing terms gave time to alternative proprietary video codecs to consolidate their position in the market.

A similar story continues with HEVC whose licensing terms are of concern to many not for what they say, but for what some patent holders do not say (because they do not provide licensing terms).

Not strictly in the video coding area, but extremely important for video distribution over the internet, is Dynamic Adaptive Streaming for HTTP. DASH enables a client to request a server to send a video segment of the quality that can be streamed on the bandwidth available at a particular time, as measured by client.

In the same space MPEG produced the Common Media Applic­ation Format (CMAF) standard. Several technologies drawn from different MPEG standards are restricted and integrated to enable efficient delivery of large scale, possibly protected, video applications, e.g. streaming of televised events. CMAF Segments can be delivered once to edge servers in content delivery networks (CDN), then accessed from cache by streaming video players without additional network backbone traffic or transmission delay.

File Format

To be “IT-friendly” MPEG-4 needed a file format and this is exactly what MPEG has provided

The MP4 File Format, officially called ISO Base Media File Format (ISO BMFF), was the MPEG response to the need. It can be used for editing, HTTP streaming and broadcasting.

MP4 FF contains tracks for each media type (audio, video etc.), with additional information: a four-character the media type ‘name’ with all parameters needed by the media type decoder. “Track selection data” helps a decoder identify what aspect of a track can be used and to determine which alternatives are available.

An important support to the file format is the Common Encryption for files provided by MPEG-B Part 7.

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Still more to say about MPEG standards

In Is there a logic in MPEG standards? and There is more to say about MPEG standards I have made an overview of the first 11 MPEG standards (white squares in Figure 1). In this article I would like to continue the overview and briefly present the remaining 11 MPEG standards, including those what are still being developed. Using the same convention as before those marked yellow indicate that no work was done on them for a few years

Figure 1 – The 22 MPEG standards. Those in colour are presented in this article


When MPEG begun the development of the Augmented Reality Application Format (ARAF) it also started a specification called Augmented Reality Reference Model. Later it became aware that SC 24 Computer graphics, image processing and environmental data representation was doing a similar work and joined forces to develop a standard called Mixed and Augmented Reality Reference Model with them.

In the Mixed and Augmented Reality (MAR) paradigm, representations of physical and computer mediated virtual objects are combined in various modalities. The MAR standard has been developed to enable

  1. The design of MAR applications or services. The designer may refer and select the needed components from those specified in the MAR model architecture taking into account the given application/service requirements.
  2. The development of a MAR business model. Value chain and actors are identified in the Reference Model and implementors may map them to their business models or invent new ones.
  3. The extension of existing or creation of new MAR standards. MAR is interdisciplinary and creates ample opportunities for extending existing technology solutions and standards.

MAR-RM and ARAF paradigmatically express the differences between MPEG standardisation and “regular” IT standardisation. MPEG defines interfaces and technologies while IT standardars typically defines architectures and reference models. This explains why the majority of patent declarations that ISO receives relate to MPEG standards. It is also worth noting that in the 6 years it took to develop the standard, MPEG developed 3 editions of its ARAF standard.

The Reference architecture of the MAR standard is depicted in the figure below.

Information from the real world is sensed and enters the MAR engine either directly or after being “understood”. The engine can also access media assets or external services. All information is processed by the engine which outputs the result of its processing and manages the interaction with the user.

Figure 2 – MAR Reference System Architecture

Based on this model, the standard elaborates the Entreprise Viewpoint with classes of actors, roles, business model, successful criteria, the Computational Viewpoint with functionalities at the component level and the Informational Viewpoint with data communication between components.

MM-RM is a one-part standard.


Multimedia service platform technologies (MPEG-M) specifies two main components of a multimedia device, called peer in MPEG-M.

As shown in Figure 3, the first component is API: High-Level API for applications and Low Level API for network, energy and security. 

Figure 3 – High Level and Low Level MPEG-M API

The second components is a middleware called MXM that relies specifically on MPEG multimedia technologies (Figure 4)

Figure 4 – The MXM architecture

The Middleware is composed of two types of engine. Technology Engines are used to call functionalities defined by MPEG standards such as creating or interpreting a licence attached to a content item. Protocol Engines are used to communicate with other peer, e.g. in case a peer does not have a particular Technology Engine that another peer has. For instance, a peer can use a Protocol Engine to call a licence server to get a licence to attach to a multimedia content item. The MPEG-M middleware has the ability to create chains of Technology Engines (Orchestration) or Protocol Engines (Aggregation).

MPEG-M is a 5-part standard

  • Part 1 – Architecture specifies the architecture, and High and Low level API of Figure 3
  • Part 2 – MPEG extensible middleware (MXM) API specifies the API of Figure 4
  • Part 3 – Conformance and reference software
  • Part 4 – Elementary services specifies the elementary services provided by the Protocol Engines
  • Part 5 – Service aggregation specifies how elementary services can be aggregated.


The development of the MPEG-U standards was motivated by the evolution of User Interfaces that integrate advanced rich media content such as 2D/3D, animations and video/audio clips and aggregate dedicated small applications called widgets. These are standalone applications embedded in a Web page and rely on Web technologies (HTML, CSS, JS) or equivalent.

With its MPEG-U standard, MPEG sought to have a common UI on different devices, e.g. TV, Phone, Desktop and Web page.

Therefore MPEG-U extends W3C recommendations to

  1. Cover non-Web domains (Home network, Mobile, Broadcast)
  2. Support MPEG media types (BIFS and LASeR) and transports (MP4 FF and MPEG-2 TS)
  3. Enable Widget Communications with restricted profiles (without scripting)

The MPEG-U architecture is depicted in Figure 5.

Figure 5 – MPEG-U Architecture

The normative behaviour of the Widget Manager includes the following elements of a widget

  1. Packaging formats
  2. Representation format (manifest)
  3. Life Cycle handling
  4. Communication handling
  5. Context and Mobility management
  6. Individual rendering (i.e. scene description normative behaviour)

Figure 6 depicts the operation of an MPEG-U widget for TV in a DLNA enviornment.

Figure 6 – MPEG-U for TV in a DLNA environment

MPEG-U is a 3-part standard

  • Part 1 – Widgets
  • Part 2 – Additional gestures and multimodal interaction
  • Part 3 – Conformance and reference software


High efficiency coding and media delivery in heterogeneous environments (MPEG-H) is an integrated standard that resumes the original MPEG “one and trine” Systems-Video-Audio standards approach. In the wake of those standards, the 3 parts can be and are actually used independently, e.g. in video streaming applications. On the other hand, ATSC have adopted the full Systems-Video-Audio triad with extensions of their own.

MPEG-H has 15 parts, as follows

  1. Part 1 – MPEG Media Transport (MMT) is the solution for the new world of broadcasting where delivery of content can take place over different channels each with different characteristics, e.g. one-way (traditional broadcasting) and two-way (the ever more pervasive broadband network). MMT assumes that the Internet Protocol is common to all channels.
  2. Part 2 – High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) is the latest approved MPEG video coding standard supporting a range of functionalities: scalability, multiview, from 4:2:0 to 4:4:4, up to 16 bits, Wider Colour Gamut and High Dynamic Range and Screen Content Coding
  3. Part 3 – 3D Audio il the latest approved audio coding standards supporting enhanced 3D audio experiences
  4. Parts 4, 5 and 6 Reference software for MMT, HEVC and 3D Audio
  5. Parts 7, 8, 9 Conformance testing for MMT, HEVC and 3D Audio
  6. Part 10 – MPEG Media Transport FEC Codes specifies several Forward Erroro Correcting Codes for use by MMT.
  7. Part 11 – MPEG Composition Information specifies an extention to HTML 5 for use with MMT
  8. Part 12 – Image File Format specifies a file format for individual images and image sequences
  9. Part 13 – MMT Implementation Guidelines collects useful guidelines for MMT use
  10. Parts 14 – Conversion and coding practices for high-dynamic-range and wide-colour-gamut video and 15 – Signalling, backward compatibility and display adaptation for HDR/WCG video are technical reports to guide users in supporting HDR/WCC,


Dynamic adaptive streaming over HTTP (DASH) is a suite of standards for the efficient and easy streaming of multimedia using available HTTP infrastructure (particularly servers and CDNs, but also proxies, caches, etc.). DASH was motivated by the popularity of HTTP streaming and the existence of different protocols used in different streaming platforms, e.g. different manifest and segment formats.

By developing the DASH standard for HTTP streaming of multimedia content, MPEG has enabled a standard-based client to stream content from any standard-based server, thereby enabling interoperability between servers and clients of different vendors.

As depicted in Figure 7, the multimedia content is stored on an HTTP server in two components: 1) Media Presentation Description (MPD) which describes a manifest of the available content, its various alternatives, their URL addresses and other characteristics, and 2) Segments which contain the actual multimedia bitstreams in form of chunks, in single or multiple files.

Figure 7 – DASH model

Currently DASH is composed of 8 parts

  1. Part 1 – Media presentation description and segment formats specifies 1) the Media Presentation Description (MPD) which provides sufficient information for a DASH client to adaptive stream the content by downloading the media segments from a HTTP server, and 2) the segment formats which specify the formats of the entity body of the request response when issuing a HTTP GET request or a partial HTTP GET.
  2. Part 2 – Conformance and reference software the regular component of an MPEG standard
  3. Part 3 – Implementation guidelines provides guidance to implementors
  4. Part 4 – Segment encryption and authentication specifies encryption and authentication of DASH segments
  5. Part 5 – Server and Network Assisted DASH specifies asynchronous network-to-client and network-to-network communication of quality-related assisting information
  6. Part 6 – DASH with Server Push and WebSockets specified the carriage of MPEG-DASH media presentations over full duplex HTTP-compatible protocols, particularly HTTP/2 and WebSockets
  7. Part 7 – Delivery of CMAF content with DASH specifies how the content specified by the Common Media Application Format can be carried by DASH
  8. Part 8 – Session based DASH operation will specify a method for MPD to manage DASH sessions for the server to instruct the client about some operation continuously applied during the session.


Coded representation of immersive media (MPEG-I) represents the current MPEG effort to develop a suite of standards to support immersive media products, services and applications.

Currently MPEG-I has 11 parts but more parts are likely to be added.

  1. Part 1 – Immersive Media Architectures outlines possible architectures for immersive media services.
  2. Part 2 – Omnidirectional MediA Format specifies an application format that enables consumption of omnidirectional video (aka Video 360). Version 2 is under development
  3. Part 3 – Immersive Video Coding will specify the emerging Versatile Video Coding standard
  4. Part 4 – Immersive Audio Coding will specify metadata to enable enhanced immersive audio experiences compared to what is possible today with MPEG-H 3D Audio
  5. Part 5 – Video-based Point Cloud Compression will specify a standard to compress dense static and dynamic point clouds
  6. Part 6 – Immersive Media Metrics will specify different parameters useful for immersive media services and their measurability
  7. Part 7 – Immersive Media Metadata will specify systems, video and audio metadata for immersive experiences. One example is the current 3DoF+ Video activity
  8. Part 8 – Network-Based Media Processing will specify APIs to access remote media processing services
  9. Part 9 – Geometry-based Point Cloud Compression will specify a standard to compress sparse static and dynamic point clouds
  10. Part 10 – Carriage of Point Cloud Data will specify how to accommodate compressed point clouds in the MP4 File Format
  11. Part 11 – Implementation Guidelines for Network-based Media Processing is the usual collection of guidelines


Coding-Independent Code-Points (MPEG-CICP) is a collecion of code points that have been assemnled in single media- and technology-specific documents because they are not standard-specific.

Part 1 – Systems, Part 2 – Video and Part 3 – Audio collelct the respective code points and Part 4 – Usage of video signal type code points contains guidelines for their use


Genomic Information Representation (MPEG-G) is a suite of specifications developed jointly with TC 276 Biotechnology that allows to reduce the amount of information required to losslessly store and transmit DNA reads from high speed sequencing machines.

Figure 8 depicts the encoding process

An MPEG-G file can be created with the following sequence of operations:

  1. Put the reads in the input file (aligned or unaligned) in bins corresponding to segments of the reference genome
  2. Classify the reads in each bin in 6 classes: P (perfect match with the reference genome), M (reads with variants), etc.
  3. Convert the reads of each bin to a subset of 18 descriptors specific of the class: e.g., a class P descriptor is the start position of the read etc.
  4. Put the descriptors in the columns of a matrix
  5. Compress each descriptor column (MPEG-G uses the very efficient CABAC compressor already present in several video coding standards)
  6. Put compressed descriptors of a class of a bin in an Access Unit (AU) for a maximum of 6 AUs per bin

Figure 8 – MPEG-G compression

MPEGG-G currently includes 6 parts

  1. Part 1 – Transport and Storage of Genomic Information specifies the file and streaming formats
  2. Part 2 – Genomic Information Representation specified the algorithm to compress DNA reads from jigh speed sequencing machines
  3. Part 3 – Genomic information metadata and application programming interfaces (APIs) specifies metadat and API to access an MPEG-G file
  4. Part 4 – Reference Software and Part 5 – Conformance are the usual components of a standard
  5. Part 6 – Genomic Annotation Representation will specify how to compress annotations.


Internet of Media Things (MPEG-IoMT) is a suite of specifications:

  1. API to discover Media Things,
  2. Data formats and API to enable communication between Media Things.

A Media Thing (MThing) is the media “version” of IoT’s Things.

The IoMT reference model is represented in Figure 9

Figure 9: IoT in MPEG is for media – IoMT

Currently MPEG-IoMT includes 4 parts

  1. Part 1 – IoMT Architecture will specify the architecture
  2. Part 2 – IoMT Discovery and Communication API specifies Discovery and Communication API
  3. Part 3 – IoMT Media Data Formats and API specifies Media Data Formats and API
  4. Part 4 – Reference Software and Conformance is the usual part of MPEG stndards


General Video Coding (MPEG-5) is expected to contain video coding specifications. Currently two specifications are envisaged

  1. Part 1 – Essential Video Coding is expected to be the specification of a video codec with two layers. The first layer will provide a significant improvement over AVC but significantly less than HEVC and the second layer will provide a significant improvement over HEVC but significantly less than to VVC.
  2. Part 2 – Low Complexity Video Coding Enhancements is expected to be the specification of a data stream structure defined by two component streams, a base stream decodable by a hardware decoder, and an enhancement stream suitable for software processing implementation with sustainable power consumption. The enhancement stream will provide new features such as compression capability extension to existing codecs, lower encoding and decoding complexity, for on demand and live streaming applications. The LCEVC decoder is depicted in Figure 18.

Figure 18: Low Complexity Enhancement Video Coding

That’s all?

Well, yes, in terms of standards that have been developed, are being developed or being extended, or for which MPEG thinks that a standard should be developed. Well, no, because MPEG is a forge of ideas and new proposals may come at every meeting.

Currently MPEG is investigating the following topics

  1. In advance signalling of MPEG containers content is motivated by scenarios where the full content of a file is not available to a player but the player needs to take a decision to retrieve the file or not. Therefore the player needs to have sufficient information to determine if it can/cannot play the entire content or only a part.
  2. Data Compression continues the exploration in search for non typical media areas that can benefit from MPEG’s compression expertise. Currently MPEG is investigating Data compression for machine tools.
  3. MPEG-21 Based Smart Contracts investigates the benefits of converting MPEG-21 contract technologies, which can be human readable, to smart contracts for execution on blockchains.

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